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Artificial Intelligence and the Labour Market

Volume 731: debated on Wednesday 26 April 2023

[Dame Maria Miller in the Chair]

[Relevant document: Tenth Report of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, Post-pandemic economic growth: UK labour markets, HC 306.]

I beg to move,

That this House has considered the potential impact of artificial intelligence on the labour market.

It is a privilege to serve under your chairmanship, Dame Maria. I am grateful to all hon. Friends and Members who have taken the time to participate in this important debate. It is a particular pleasure to see my hon. Friend the Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston (Justin Madders) in his place. I wish to draw the attention of the House to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.

The rapid advance of artificial intelligence technology poses a severe threat to the labour market and to workers’ rights. The negative effect of AI on the workforce cannot be ignored, as it has the potential to displace jobs, lead to economic inequality and erode the rights of workers. AI has the capability to automate jobs and various industries, which could result in widespread unemployment and exacerbate existing socioeconomic disparities. Low-skilled workers, who are already vulnerable to exploitation, are likely to be the most impacted, leading to a growing divide between the haves and the have-nots.

Furthermore, the implementation of AI in the workplace could result in the violation of workers’ rights such as privacy, autonomy and fair pay. The use of AI to monitor and control workers could lead to increased exploitation, discrimination and the creation of a toxic work environment. If left unchecked, the rise of AI could lead to a future where workers are replaced by machines, and human dignity is sacrificed for the sake of corporate profits. The deployment of AI in the workplace must be accompanied by strong regulations and policies that prioritise the wellbeing and rights of workers.

Governments and companies must take responsibility for the harmful impact of AI on the labour market and take immediate action to prevent its negative effects. Failure to do so would result in an irreparable loss of jobs, economic inequality and a violation of workers’ basic rights.

For Members who have heard me speak before in this House, that introduction must have felt unusually stilted, or perhaps uncharacteristically eloquent. That is because it was written entirely by ChatGPT—one of a number of increasingly sophisticated AI chatbots that have become readily accessible in the past few months. At this point, let me reassure my parliamentary researcher, who is watching this debate, that he does not need to worry about his P45—yet. The unusual distinction of being the first Member of Parliament to openly read AI-generated text into Hansard belongs to the hon. Member for Bosworth (Dr Evans). Like him, I have chosen to turn to one of the most widely used AI-powered technologies to illustrate the rapid advances taking place in the field of artificial intelligence, and the potentially devastating consequences that this could have on workers in every sector of the economy.

Of course, the impacts of this AI revolution will be felt far beyond the labour market. Information is an increasingly valuable commodity; it is also a potential weapon of war. The danger is simple: technologies such as ChatGPT and DALL-E could be used to proliferate dangerous misinformation and subvert our already compromised democracy. We need further and extensive scrutiny of the risks and of the steps that we need to take to better protect our constituents’ data privacy.

I have chosen to use the limited time available today to look at the impact of artificial intelligence on the labour market, and particularly on workers’ rights. That is not only because I have spent my adult life fighting for workers’ rights, but because it is in the labour market that that change is happening most rapidly, and it is in the everyday experience of work that the disruption of AI is being most keenly felt.

We have heard much in recent years about how we stand on the edge of a fourth industrial revolution. That revolution is now well under way; its effects will be profound and far-reaching. Every part of our public life will be transformed. I want to be clear: I am no enemy of progress. We should embrace the potential of AI to change our lives for the better, whether by improving diagnosis and treatment of disease or by driving sustainable economic growth that can benefit us all. Just as the first industrial revolution brought about an era of unprecedented wealth for an elite few but condemned the British working class and colonised people across the world to a life of precarity and poverty, the AI revolution will create again—if we allow it to do so—a world of winners and losers.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for making an impressive speech and extremely good points about the welfare of workers. As a union rep, I agree that we must have safeguards around AI developments. Does he agree that in order to make this new technology available to all, we should seek to level up across the UK and ensure that coding opportunities and the jobs of the future are available to young people in all areas, including deprived areas?

The hon. Member makes a good point. When it comes to AI, all workers need protections.

Research by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests that AI will be responsible for 46% of the UK’s long-term output growth. It promises job creation in sectors such as health, education, and science and technology. At the same time, it threatens devastating job losses in sectors such as manufacturing, transport and public administration. Some 7% of all UK jobs could be automated away within the next five years, and as many as 30% could disappear within 20 years.

The last time we experienced systemic economic displacement on anything like that scale was during the deindustrialisation of the 1980s and 1990s. The architects of that policy believed that nothing should be done to support those communities that carried the cost of the economic and social fallout, the legacy of which my constituency of Birkenhead continues to live with to this day. They followed the ancient mantra that the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must. We must not repeat that mistake again. I have called today’s debate to make an urgent plea for a rights-based and people-focused approach to artificial intelligence, and for a process that puts the voices and interests of workers at its heart. In this new machine age, we must assert more than ever the fundamental right of all people to a basic level of economic security and dignity at work.

The hon. Gentleman makes an interesting point, much of which I support. It is not controversial to suggest that the NHS would benefit from more doctors or that digital tech has the potential to improve people’s lives. The Health and Social Care Committee has been looking at both of those issues. As part of one of its inquiries, the Committee went to San Francisco about a month ago to look at how AI can help in medicine. We found that computers can be taught to read mammograms of breast screening tests. That means that, rather than having to be read by two independent doctors, the mammograms can be read by one doctor and one computer. Apparently, the process is more accurate than one involving two computers or, indeed, two doctors. Therefore, AI has the potential not just to cause the workforce issues raised by the hon. Gentleman, but to benefit areas with workforce shortages.

I thank the hon. Member for those points. I have already said that we must embrace AI and what it does for us. We are not here to stop progress, but my point is that the Government need to build in regulatory rights and protections.

The benefits of this new technological revolution must be shared by everyone, not just an elite few. I do not claim to have the answers to a challenge of such enormous magnitude—I look forward to hearing hon. Members’ thoughts in a few moments’ time—but a starting point must surely be guaranteeing support to those sectors and communities that will be most affected by the threat and reality of economic displacement. That means strengthening our collective social security net and seriously considering the role that a universal basic income might play in ensuring a decent standard of living in a labour market increasingly characterised by job scarcity. It means investing in skills and lifelong learning, ensuring that workers whose employment is lost to AI have the opportunity to find well-paid and similarly rewarding work.

In any democracy we have to recognise that technology is never ideologically neutral. Every technological system reflects the interests and biases of its creators and funders. Our challenge is to ensure that AI technologies reflect a multiplicity of voices, including those of workers, and not just in their application but in their conception and design as well. I hope we will continue to discuss how we can achieve that.

A people-focused approach to AI must also mean doing more to guarantee the rights of those workers who are already working alongside artificial intelligence and related technologies in their workplace. The AI working group set up by the Trades Union Congress surveyed thousands of workers in producing its report on the worker experience of AI and associated technologies. It shows vividly how workers are increasingly managed by machines, how their rights and autonomy are being steadily eroded, and how automated processes often perpetuate human prejudice when making decisions on employees’ performance, hiring and promotions.

The Government’s response was set out in the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology’s recently published AI White Paper, which advocates a light-touch approach and effectively leaves the market to regulate itself. Although Ministers have devised five fundamental principles that should inform the adoption and use of AI in workplaces, they do not intend to place those principles on a statutory footing. Instead, the implementation of those principles will be left to underfunded and overstretched regulators, such as the Information Commissioner’s Office and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

That contrasts starkly with the models adopted by other developed economies. The European Union’s Artificial Intelligence Act is likely to be one of the most comprehensive pieces of legislation ever passed on this subject, while California—the very centre of global technology innovation—is preparing to implement measures to protect the privacy and civil liberties of workers. These measures include a new office for AI, with the authority to guide the development of new automated systems, as well as statutory restrictions on the use of automated decision making in the workplace.

The proposal set out by the TUC’s AI manifesto, copies of which I have brought to Westminster Hall for Members today, involves taking a very different position from that taken by the Government. Building on the existing framework of equalities legislation, it calls for a rights-based approach to manage the transition to AI that would strengthen equality protections, guarantee workers the right to human contact and require a human review of high-risk decisions that have been automated, and protect the right to disconnect for all workers. It is also absolutely right to acknowledge the need to listen to workers—their voices and their experiences—in managing this transition. It is essential that we recognise and value the role of trade unions as a vehicle for getting those voices heard.

It is for those reasons that the manifesto proposes a statutory duty for employers to consult trade union representatives before adopting AI and associated technologies. It is also why the manifesto urges employers to agree collective agreements with unions to govern the use of AI in the workplace.

Last December, when I questioned the then Business Secretary—the right hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps)—on the merits of introducing a statutory duty to consult, he expressed interest and offered to meet me to discuss it further. I think the Minister present today will remember that, and I am interested to hear whether he and the new Business Secretary share the right hon. Gentleman’s interest.

Finally, the manifesto emphasises the fact that workers’ participation can be achieved only if workers understand the processes and technologies at work. In environments in which decisions are increasingly dictated by machines, people need to know, more than ever, what data is being held on them and how it is used.

I am aware that time is short and I look forward to hearing other hon. Members’ contributions. I will conclude my remarks by saying that on 17 May I will introduce a ten-minute Rule Bill that builds on the TUC’s important work and which I hope will bring us a bit closer to the rights-based approach I am advocating and which we urgently need. I ask any colleagues interested in supporting that Bill to speak to me after this debate.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairship this afternoon, Dame Maria, and I congratulate the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mick Whitley), both on securing this very important debate and on his excellent speech.

Artificial intelligence is an enabling technology. It is driving the digital age, but it is based on a series of points of data that are gathered by computer systems and processed in order to make decisions. It still requires a huge amount of human intervention in determining what data will be drawn on and therefore what decisions should be made. Consequently, there has to be a level of human responsibility, as well.

We can see already from the development of AI that it is not just question of computer systems learning from existing patterns of behaviour; they are also effectively thinking for themselves. The development of AI in chess is a good example of that. Not only are AI systems learning to make the moves that a human would make, always selecting the perfect combination and, therefore, being much more successful. When given the command to win the game, AI systems have also developed ways of playing that are unique, that the human mind has not thought of or popularised, and that are yet more efficient at winning. That is very interesting for those interested in chess. Perhaps not everyone is interested in chess, but that shows the power of AI to make autonomous decisions, based on data and information it is given. Humans invented the game of chess, but AI can learn to play it in ways not thought of by humans.

The application of AI in the defence space is even more scary, as touched on by the hon. Member for Birkenhead. AI-enabled weapons systems can be aggressive, make decisions quickly and behave in unpredictable ways. The human strategist is not able to keep pace with them and we would require AI-driven defence systems to protect ourselves from them. It would be alarming to live in a world where aggressive technology driven by AI can be combatted only by AI, with no human intervention in the process. It is scary to think of a security situation, like the Cuban missile crisis in the 1960s, where the strategies are pursued solely by AI. Therefore, we will have to think as we do in other areas of warfare, where we have bans on certain types of chemical weapons. There are certain systems that are considered so potentially devastating that they will not be used—there are moratoriums on their use and deployment. When thinking about AI in the defence space, we may well have to consider what security to build into it as well. We also need to think about the responsibility of companies that develop AI systems just for their commercial interests. What responsibility lies on them for the systems that they have created?

The hon. Gentleman was right to say that this is like an industrial revolution. With industrial revolutions comes great change. People’s ways of living and working can be disrupted, and they are replaced by something new. We cannot yet say with certainty what that something new could be. There are concerns, which I will come to in a moment, about the regulation of AI. There could be amazing opportunities, too. One can imagine working or classroom environments where children could visit historical events. I asked someone who works in education development how long it could take before children studying the second world war could put on a headset, sit in a virtual House of Commons and watch Winston Churchill deliver one of his famous speeches, as if they were actually sitting there. We are talking about that sort of technology being possible within the next decade.

The applications for learning are immense. Astronauts who practise going to the international space station do so from metaverse-style, AI-driven virtual spaces, where they can train. At the same time as we think about the good things that it can do, we should also consider the fact that very bad spaces could be created. In our debates on the Online Safety Bill, we have been concerned about abusive online behaviour. What if such abusive behaviour took place in a video chatroom, a virtual space, that looks just as real as this room? Who would be responsible for that?

It is beholden on the companies that develop these new technologies and systems to have responsibility for the output of those systems. The onus should be on the companies to demonstrate that what they are developing is safe. That is why my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer was right to set out in the Budget statement last year that the Government would fund a new AI sandbox. We have seen AI sandboxes developed in the EU. In Washington state in the United States, AI sandboxes are used to research new facial recognition technologies, which is particularly sensitive. The onus should be on the developer. The role of the regulator should be to say, “There are certain guidelines you work within, and certain things we might consider unsafe or unethical. You develop your technologies and new systems and put them through a sandbox trial. You make it easy for the regulator to ask about the data you are drawing from, the decisions the system you have put in place is making, the outcomes it is creating and whether they are safe.”

We have already seen that learned behaviour through data can create unfair biases in systems. There was a case where Amazon used AI to sift through CVs for recruitment. The AI learned that it was largely men hired for the roles, and therefore discarded the CVs of women applying for the position because it assumed they would not be qualified. We should be concerned about biases built into data systems being exacerbated by AI.

Some people talk about AI as if it is a future technology—something coming—but it exists today. Every one of us experiences or interacts with AI in some way. The most obvious way for a lot of people is through the use of apps. The business model of social media apps is driven by recommendation, which is an AI-driven system. The system—Facebook, TikTok, Instagram or whatever it is—is data profiling the user and recommending content to keep them engaged, based on data, and it is AI driving those recommendation tools.

We have to be concerned about whether those systems create unfair practices and behaviours in the workplace. That is why the hon. Member for Birkenhead is right to raise this issue. If a gig economy worker—a taxi driver or a delivery courier—is paid only when they are in receipt of jobs on the app, does the app create a false incentive for them to be available for work all the time? Do they have to commit to being available to the app for most of the day, because if they do not it drives the work to people who have high recommendation scores because they are always available? Do people who cannot make themselves available all the time find that the amount they can earn is much less, if they do not get paid for waiting time when they use such apps? If that becomes the principal way in which a lot of tasks are driven, AI systems, which are built to be efficient and make it easy for people to access the labour market, could create biases that favour some workers over others. People with other jobs or family commitment, in particular, might not be able to make themselves available.

We should consider not just the way the technology works but the rights that citizens and workers have if their job is based on using those apps. The employer—the app developer—should treat the people who work for them as employees, rather than as just freelance agency workers who happen to be available at any particular time of the day. They have some sort of working relationship that should be honoured and respected.

The basic principle that we should apply when we think about the future of AI and its enormous potential to create growth and new jobs, and build fantastic new businesses, is that the rights that people enjoy today—their rights as citizens and employees—should be translated into the future world of technology. A worker should not lose their working rights simply because their relationship with their employer or their customer is through an app, and because that experience is shaped by the collection and processing of data. Ultimately, someone is doing that processing, and someone has created that system in order to make money from it. The people doing that need to be responsible for the technology they have created.

It is a privilege to speak in this debate, and I thank the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mick Whitley) for securing it. I wanted to apply for it myself—he beat me to the chase, which is a wonderful thing.

Before I became an MP, one of my final clients was in the AI space. It dealt with artificial intelligence and psychology—I believe that my first entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests was my final bit of work for it—so I have seen this technology evolve over many years. We often talk about technology revolutions, but this has been an incredibly fast evolution.

We are seeing Moore’s law, which related to the size and scale of technology, affect society. The scale of what is happening right now is both inspirationally amazing and terrifying at the same time. It will absolutely shape the job market and the type of jobs that come through over the next few years. It will shape how people interface with their co-workers, with technology, with society and with politicians. It will affect every aspect of our lives.

I am particularly concerned about the use of artificial intelligence for deception. I have long said—not necessarily in the Chamber, so I put it on the record now—that there should be in law something that I would call the Turing clause. It would mean that when technology is used to deceive somebody into believing that they are talking to a real person or engaging with a real business, whether for entertainment or for any other purpose—for instance watching a deepfake, which is perhaps for entertainment purposes—it must be crystal clear to them that they are being deceived.

I will give some examples. I was recently speaking to somebody who works in the entertainment industry, running studios where they record sound, voiceovers and music. They said—I should declare that I do not know the scale of this issue and have not looked into the numbers—that lot of the studios are often being used to record voiceovers for AI companies, so that the AI can learn how to speak like a real person. We all know about fraud and scams in which somebody gets phoned up from a call centre and told, “Your insurance is up,” or by someone pretending to be from the Government. We saw, awfully, during the covid crisis how those horrible people would try to scam people. Doing that requires a number of people in a space.

Now imagine that AI can pretend to be somebody we know—a family member, for instance—and imitate their voice. It could call up and say, “I need some money now, because I am in trouble,” or, “I need some support.” Or it could say, “This is somebody from the Government; your tax affairs are an issue—send your details now.” There are a whole load of things going on in society that we will not know about until it is too late. That is why a Turing clause is absolutely essential, so that we are ahead of the curve on deception, deepfakes and areas where technology will be used to fool.

One incredibly important area in relation to the labour market that is not often talked about is the role of AI in creativity. DALL-E 2 is one of the tools, and there are many others popping up now. They can create artwork and videos almost at the speed of thought—typing in a particular phrase will create amazingly beautiful pictures—but they are pooling those from places where real artists and real musicians, with particular styles, have contributed. That is then presented as AI creativity. That could kill the graphic design industry. It could prevent people who are in the early stages of life as an artist, in both the visual and music worlds, from ever having an opportunity to be successful.

Just recently, Drake and the Weeknd—if I have those artists correct—had a song that was put online. I think that it even went on Spotify, but it was definitely on some streaming services. Everybody thought, “Gosh, this is a fantastic new collaboration.” It was not. It was AI pretending to be both of those artists with a brand new song. Artificial intelligence had created it. It was not until after the fact, and after the song had been streamed hundreds of thousands of times, that the big music companies said, “Hang on—that isn’t real. We need to stop this.” Then it was stopped.

In the case of social media, it took us many years to get to the fantastic Online Safety Bill. I was very fortunate to be on the Draft Online Safety Bill Joint Committee. Its Chair, my hon. Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Damian Collins), is in the room today, and he did a fabulous job. Getting to that point took 10 or 15 years. We do not have 10 or 15 months to legislate on AI. We probably do not have 10 or 15 weeks, given where we will be in a matter of days, with the new announcements and tools that are coming out.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for making those extremely important points. Just last week, we had the Children’s Parliament at the all-party parliamentary group on the metaverse and web 3.0. The children were excited about the opportunities of AI and the metaverse, and we were told on the day that the World Economic Forum predicts that technology will create 97 million new jobs by 2025 alone. But like the hon. Gentleman, they were also very concerned about what is real and what is not, and they were concerned about the mental health impact of spending much of the day in an altered reality setting. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that we need much more research into the mental health impact on staff and young people who are engaged in AI?

I thank the hon. Member for her comments. Mental health is a passion of mine—I had a ten-minute rule Bill about ensuring that mental health first aiders are in the workplace—and I agree wholeheartedly. We saw that in evidence given to the Draft Online Safety Bill Joint Committee; Rio Ferdinand talked, including in his documentary, about the fact that what is said online can affect a person’s real life. The challenge with artificial intelligence is that it will not just be able to say those things; it will probably know precisely how to do the most harm, how to hit the right triggers to make people buy things and how to fool and deceive people to ensure they hand over money or their rights.

I will move on because I am conscious of time. I know we have quite a long time for this debate, but I do not intend to use it all; I promise. I think that the creativity part is absolutely essential. A few weeks ago, I predicted in Parliament that, in the next year or so, a No. 1 song will be created by artificial intelligence for the first time. I have no doubt that a No. 1 bestselling book will be written by artificial intelligence. I have no doubt that new songs in the voices of artists who are no longer around, such as Elvis Presley, will be released, and that actors who are sadly no longer alive will play starring roles in new films. We are seeing this already on a soft scale, but it is going to become more and more pervasive.

It is not all negative. I do not want to be a doomsayer. There are great opportunities: Britain—this wonderful country—could be the home of identifying and delivering transparency within those industries. We could be the country that creates the technology and the platforms to identify where artificial intelligence is being used; it could flag up when things are not real. It could, for example, force organisations to say who they are, what they are doing and whether they have used artificial intelligence. I think that will create a whole new world of labour markets and industries that will stem from this country and create all the jobs that we talked about earlier.

I am also concerned that we do not often talk in the same breath about artificial intelligence and robotics. In the industrial world, such as in warehouses and so on, there has been a rise in the use of robotics to replace real people. Office jobs are changing due to artificial intelligence. The role of accountants, of back-office staff and of both blue and white-collar workers will change.

As was stated earlier, the challenge with robotics is on things such as defence. Artificial intelligence is being used in robotics to get way ahead of the scale of where we are now. We really need to take that seriously. ChatGPT was probed. People tried to catch it out on different aspects of its response. When asked how it would steal the nuclear codes, it outlined how it would do it. I am not trying to give any bad actors out there any ideas, but it explained how it would use AI to control drones, and how they would be able to go in and do certain things. Hopefully, it got it all wrong. However, if AI is in not just our computers and mobile phones, but in drones and new robots that are incredibly sophisticated, incredibly small and not always identifiable, we need to be really wary.

There are many positives, such as for detection in the health sector and for identifying things such as breast cancer. Recently, I have seen lots of work about how artificial intelligence could be layered on the human aspect and insight, which was mentioned earlier, and enable the identification of things that we would not normally be able to see.

There is huge positive scope for using data. I have said previously that, if we were to donate our health data to live clinical trials in a way that was legitimate and pseudonymised, artificial intelligence could be used to identify a cure for cancer and for diseases that have affected our society for many centuries. In the same way that it has found new ways of playing chess, it might find new ways of changing and saving lives. There is great opportunity there.

Many years ago, I wrote an article called, “Me, Myself and AI”. In it, I commented on areas where AI is dangerous, but I also mentioned opportunities for positives. I would like to make one final point on this: we must also make sure that the data that goes into the AI is tracked not only for things such as royalties in creative industries, but for bias. I wrote an article on that a while ago. If we take a sample, say within a health context, and take that data based on only one ethnicity or demographic, the AI will develop options and solutions for that group. If we do not have the right data, regarding diversity, going into the analysis, we risk not being able to identify future issues. For example, sickle cell disease might get missed because the data that the AI is using is based only on clinical trials with white people.

There is a wide-ranging issue about what is being fed into the systems around AI and how we ensure that we identify where AI is being used—hence my point about a Turing clause when it comes to deception. We also need to know where it is being used, including in Government. We need to look at the opportunities, too: whole new industries around how we monitor AI, apply it and use the science of it.

AI is already there in the spelling of “Great Britain”. We have a great opportunity to be ahead of the curve, and we need to be because the curve will be moving beyond us within a matter of weeks or months—and definitely within years.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairship this afternoon, Dame Maria, and to take part in this particularly timely debate. I congratulate the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mick Whitley) on securing it.

I begin by declaring a rather tenuous interest—a constituency interest of sorts—regarding the computing pioneer Alan Turing. The Turing family held the baronetcy of Foveran, which is a parish in my constituency between the north of Aberdeen and Ellon. Although there is no evidence that Alan Turing ever actually visited, it is a connection that the area clings to as fastly as it can.

Alan Turing, of course, developed what we now know as the Turing test—a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. One of the developments to come closest to that in recent times is, of course, ChatGPT, which several speakers have mentioned already. It is a natural-language processing tool driven by AI technology, which has the ability to generate text and interact with humans.

The hon. Member for Birkenhead was a bit braver than I was; I only toyed with the idea of using ChatGPT to produce some of my speech today. However, I was put off somewhat by a very good friend of mine, with an IT background, using the ChatGPT interface to produce a biography of me. He then shared it with his friendship group on Facebook.

I think it is fair to say that it shows up clearly that if ChatGPT does not know the answer to something, it will fill the gap by making up something that it thinks will sound plausible. In that sense, it is maybe no different from your average Cabinet Minister. However, that does mean that, in subject areas where the data on which it is drawing is rather scant, things can get quite interesting and inventive.

The hon. Gentleman makes an incredibly important point. When AI systems such as that are asked questions that they do not know, rather than responding, “I don’t know,” they just make something up. A human is therefore required to understand whether what they are being showed is correct. The hon. Gentleman knows his own biography better than ChatGPT does, but someone else may not.

I thank the hon. Member for that intervention. He has perhaps read ahead towards the conclusion of my speech, but it is an interesting dichotomy. Obviously, I know my biography best, but there are people out there, not in the AI world—Wikipedia editors, for example—who think that they know my biography better than I do in some respects.

However, to give the example, the biography generated by AI said that I had been a director at the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, and, prior to that, I had been a senior manager at the National Trust for Scotland. I had also apparently served in the Royal Air Force. None of that is true, but, on one level, it does make me want to meet this other Richard Thomson who exists out there. He has clearly had a far more interesting life than I have had to date.

Although that level of misinformation is relatively benign, it does show the dangers that can be presented by the manipulation of the information space, and I think that the increasing use and application of AI raises some significant and challenging ethical questions.

Any computing system is based on the premise of input, process and output. Therefore, great confidence is needed when it comes to the quality of information that goes in—on which the outputs are based—as well as the algorithms used to extrapolate from that information to create the output, the purpose for which the output is then used, the impact it goes on to have, and, indeed, the level of human oversight at the end.

In March, Goldman Sachs published a report indicating that AI could replace up to 300 million full-time equivalent jobs and a quarter of all the work tasks in the US and Europe. It found that some 46% of administrative tasks and even 44% in the legal professions could be automated. GPT-4 recently managed to pass the US Bar exam, which is perhaps less a sign of machine intelligence than of the fact that the US Bar exam is not a fantastic test of AI capabilities—although I am sure it is a fantastic test of lawyers in the States.

Our fear of disruptive technologies is age-old. Although it is true to say that generally what we have seen from that disruption is the creation of new jobs and the ability to allow new technologies to take on more laborious and repetitive tasks, it is still extremely disruptive. Some 60% of workers are currently in occupations that did not exist in 1940, but there is still a real danger, as there has been with other technologies, that AI depresses wages and displaces people faster than any new jobs can be created. That ought to be of real concern to us.

In terms of ethical considerations, there are large questions to be asked about the provenance of datasets and the output to which they can lead. As The Guardian reported recently:

“The…datasets used to train the latest generation of these AI systems, like those behind ChatGPT and Stable Diffusion, are likely to contain billions of images scraped from the internet, millions of pirated ebooks”

as well as all sorts of content created by others, who do not get reward for its use; the entire proceedings of 16 years of the European Parliament; or even the entirety of the proceedings that have ever taken place, and been recorded and digitised, in this place. The datasets can be drawn from a range of sources and they do not necessarily lead to balanced outputs.

ChatGPT has been banned from operating in Italy after the data protection regulator there expressed concerns that there was no legal basis to justify the collection and mass storage of the personal data needed to train GPT AI. Earlier this month, the Canadian privacy commissioner followed, with an investigation into OpenAI in response to a complaint that alleged that the collection, use and disclosure of personal information was happening without consent.

This technology brings huge ethical issues not just in the workplace but right across society, but questions need to be asked particularly when it comes to the workplace. For example, does it entrench existing inequalities? Does it create new inequalities? Does it treat people fairly? Does it respect the individual and their privacy? Is it used in a way that makes people more productive by helping them to be better at their jobs and work smarter, rather than simply forcing them—notionally, at least—to work harder? How can we be assured that at the end of it, a sentient, qualified, empowered person has proper oversight of the use to which the AI processes are being put? Finally, how can it be regulated as it needs to be—beneficially, in the interests of all?

The hon. Member for Birkenhead spoke about and distributed the TUC document “Dignity at work and the AI revolution”, which, from the short amount of time I have had to scrutinise it, looks like an excellent publication. There is certainly nothing in its recommendations that anyone should not be able to endorse when the time comes.

I conclude on a general point: as processes get smarter, we collectively need to make sure that, as a species, we do not consequentially get dumber. Advances in artificial intelligence and information processing do not take away the need for people to be able to process, understand, analyse and critically evaluate information for themselves.

This is one point—and a concern of mine—that I did not explore in my speech because I was conscious of its length. As has been pointed out, a speech has been given previously that was written by artificial intelligence, as has a question in Parliament. We politicians rely on academic research and on the Library. We also google and meet people to inform our discussions and debates. I will keep going on about my Turing clause—which connects to the hon. Gentleman’s point—because I am concerned that if we do not have something like that to highlight a deception, there is a risk that politicians will go into debates or votes that affect the government of this country having been deceived—potentially on purpose, by bad actors. That is a real risk, which is why there needs to be transparency. We need something crystal clear that says, “This is deceptive content” or “This has been produced or informed by AI”, to ensure the right and true decisions are being made based on actual fact. That would cover all the issues that have been raised today. Does the hon. Member share that view?

Yes, I agree that there is a very real danger of this technology being used for the purposes of misinformation and disinformation. Our democracy is already exceptionally vulnerable to that. Just as the hon. Member highlights the danger of individual legislators being targeted and manipulated—they need to have their guard up firmly against that—there is also the danger of people trying to manipulate behaviour by manipulating wider political discourse with information that is untrue or misleading. We need to do a much better job of ensuring we are equipping everybody in society with critical thinking skills and the ability to analyse information objectively and rationally.

Ultimately, whatever benefits AI can bring, it is our quality of life and the quality of our collective human capital that counts. AI can only and should only ever be a tool and a servant to that end.

It is a pleasure to see you in the Chair, Dame Maria. This has been a thoughtful and engaging debate on an important subject, and the contributions have raised very important issues.

I particularly thank my hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mick Whitley) for introducing this debate. I thought his opening remarks about me were uncharacteristically generous, so I had a suspicion that it did not all come from him—if he wants to blame the computer, that’s fine! As he did, I refer to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. My hon. Friend has a long history in the workplace and has seen how automation has changed work—particularly the kind done at Vauxhall Motors in Ellesmere Port—dramatically over many years. What we are talking about today is an extension of that, probably at a greater pace and with greater consequences for jobs than we have seen in the past.

My hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead said there will be winners and losers in this; that is very important. We must be cognisant of sectors affected by AI where there will probably be more losers than winners, including manufacturing, transport and public administration. My hon. Friend hit the nail on the head when he said that we must have a rights-based and people-focused approach to this incredibly complicated subject. He was right to refer to the TUC paper about the issue. We cannot go far wrong if we hold to the principles and recommendations set out there.

The hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Damian Collins) made an excellent contribution, showing a great deal of knowledge in this area. He is absolutely right to say that there has to be a level of human responsibility in the decision-making process. His references to AI in defence systems were quite worrying and sounded like something from the “Terminator” films. It sounds like dramatic science fiction, but it is a real, live issue that we need to address now. He is right that we should ensure that developers are able to clearly demonstrate the data on which they are basing their decisions, and in saying that the gig economy is a big part of the issue and that the intervention of apps in the traditional employment relationship should not be used as a proxy to water down employment rights.

The hon. Member for Watford (Dean Russell) also gave a very considered speech. He summed it up when he said that this is both amazing and terrifying. We have heard of some wonderful things that can be done, but also some extremely worrying ones. He gave examples of deception, as well as of the wonderful art that can be created through AI, and encapsulated why it is so important that we have this debate today. Although the debate is about the potential impacts of AI, it is clear that change is happening now, and at a dramatic pace that we need to keep up with; the issue has been affecting workers for some time now.

When we survey the Government’s publications on the impact of AI on the market, it is readily apparent that they are a little bit behind the curve when it comes to how technologies are affecting the way work is conducted and supervised. In the 2021 report, “The Potential Impact of Artificial Intelligence on UK Employment and the Demand for Skills”, and the recent White Paper that was published last month, there was a failure to address the issues of AI’s role in the workplace. The focus in both publications was the bigger picture, but I do not think they addressed in detail the concerns we have discussed today.

That is not to downplay the wider structural economic change that AI could bring. It has the potential to have an impact on demand for labour and the skills needed, and on the geographical distribution of work. This will be a central challenge for any Government over the next few decades. As we have heard, the analysis already points in that direction, with the 2021 Government report estimating that 7% of jobs could be affected in just five years and 18% in 10 years, with up to 30% of jobs over 20 years facing the possibility of automation. That is millions of people who may be displaced in the labour market if we do not get this right.

I will focus my comments on the impact on individual workers, because behind the rhetoric of making the UK an AI superpower, there are statements about having a pro-innovation, light-touch and coherent regulatory framework, with a desire not to legislate too early or to place undue burdens on business. That shows that the Government are, unfortunately, content to leave workers’ protections at the back of the queue. It is telling that in last month’s White Paper—a document spanning 91 pages—workplaces are mentioned just three times, and none of those references are about the potential negative consequences that we have touched on today. As we are debating this issue now, and as the Minister is engaged on the topic, we have the opportunity to get ahead of the curve, but I am afraid that the pace of change in the workplace has completely outstripped the pace of Government intervention over the last number of years.

It has been four years since we saw the Government’s good work plan, which contained many proposals that might help mitigate elements of AI’s use in the workplace. The Minister will not be surprised to hear me mention the employment Bill, which has been promised on many occasions and could have been an opportunity to consider some of these issues. We need an overarching, transformative legislative programme to deal with these matters, and the many other issues around low pay and chronic insecurity in the UK labour market—and we need a Labour Government to provide that.

With an absence of direction from Government, there is already a quiet revolution in the workplace being caused by AI. Workers across a broad range of sectors have been impacted by management techniques derived from the use of artificial intelligence. The role of manager is being diluted. Individual discretion, be it by the manager or worker, has in some instances been replaced by unaccountable algorithms. As we have heard, such practices carry risks.

Reports both in the media and by researchers have found that workplaces across a range of sectors are becoming increasingly monitored and automated, and decisions of that nature are becoming normalised. A report on algorithmic systems by the Institute for the Future of Work noted that that is ultimately redefining work in much narrower terms than can be quantified by any algorithm, with less room for the use of human judgment. Crucially, the institute found that workers were rarely involved in or even consulted about these types of data-driven technologies. The changes have completely altered those people’s experience of work, with greater surveillance and greater intensification, and use in disciplinary procedures. Members may be aware that there is now a greater use of different varieties of surveillance, including GPS, cameras, eye-tracking software, heat sensors and body-worn devices, so the activities of workers can be monitored to an extent that was hitherto unimaginable.

Of course, surveillance is not new, but the way it is now conducted reduces trust, and makes workers feel more insecure and as if they cannot dispute the evidence that the technology tells people. Most at risk of that monitoring, as the Institute for Public Policy Research has said, are those in jobs with lower worker autonomy, those with lower skills, and those without trade union representation. The latter is an area where the risk increases substantially, which tells us everything that we need to know about the importance of becoming a member of a trade union. The news today that the GMB is making progress in obtaining recognition at Amazon is to be welcomed in that respect.

Increased surveillance and monitoring is not only problematic in itself; it can lead to an intensification of work. Testimony from workers in one study stated that they are expected to be conducting work that the system can measure for 95% of the working day. Time spent talking to colleagues, using the bathroom or even taking a couple of minutes to make a cup of tea will not be registered as working, and will be logged for a manager to potentially take action against the individual. That pressure cannot be conducive to a healthy workplace in the long run. It feels almost like automated bullying, with someone monitoring their every move.

Many businesses now rely on AI-powered systems for fully automated or semi-automated decision making about task allocation, work scheduling, pay, progression and disciplinary proceedings. That presents many dangers, some of which we have talked about. Due to the complexities in the technology, AI systems can sometimes be a trusted black box by those who use them. The people using them assume that the outcome that emerges from the AI system is free of bias and discrimination, and constitutes evidence for the basis of their decisions, but how does someone contest a decision if they cannot question an algorithm?

As we have heard, there is potential for algorithmic bias. AI technology can operate only on the basis of the information put into it. Sometimes human value judgments form the basis of what is fed into the AI, and how the AI analyses it. As the hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe mentioned, there are some famous examples, such as at Amazon, where AI was found to be systematically disconsidering women for particular job applications because of the way the algorithm worked. There is little transparency and a lack of checks and balances regarding how the technology can be used, so there is a palpable risk of AI-sanctioned discrimination running riot without transparency at the forefront.

I would like the Minister to commit to looking at how the technology works in the workplace at the moment, and to making an assessment of what it is being used for and its potential to discriminate against people with protected characteristics. The Data Protection and Digital Information (No. 2) Bill will create new rights where wholly automated decision making is involved, but the question is: how will someone know when a fully automated decision has been taken if they are not told about it? Is there not a risk that many employers will slot into the terms and conditions of employment a general consent to automated decision making, which will remove the need for the person to be notified all together?

A successful AI strategy for this country should not be built on the back of the poor treatment of workers, and it is the Government’s role to create a legal and regulatory environment that shields workers from the most pernicious elements of these new technologies. That cannot be fixed by introducing single policies that tinker at the edges; it requires a long overdue wholesale update to our country’s employment laws. As the Minister will know, our new deal for working people will set out a suite of policies that address that. Among other things, it will help to mitigate the worst effects of AI, and will introduce measures that include a right to switch off, which will guard against some of the egregious examples of AI being used to intensify people’s work.

As the organised representation of the workforce, trade unions should be central to the introduction of any new technologies into the workplace. Not only will that enable employers and their representatives to find agreeable solutions to the challenges raised by modern working practices, but it will encourage more transparency from employers as to how management surveillance and disciplinary procedures operate. Transparency has been picked up a few times and it is key to getting this right.

Artificial intelligence’s impact is already being felt up and down the country, but the Government have not been quick enough to act, and its worst excesses are already out there. The need for transparency and trust with technology is clear, and we need to make sure that that has some legislative backing. It is time for a Labour Government to clear that up, stand up for working people and bolster our labour market so that new technologies that are already with us can be used to make work better for everyone.

I am grateful to be called, Dame Maria, and it is a pleasure to speak in the debate. I congratulate the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mick Whitley) on bringing this timely subject forward. I thought it would be appropriate to type his question into ChatGPT. I put in, “What is the potential impact of AI on the labour market?” It said, “AI has the potential to transform many aspects of the economy and society for the better. It also raises concerns about job displacement and the future of work.” That is it in a nutshell. It did not say that it was time for a Labour Government.

I have not actually posed that question, but perhaps I could later.

This is an important debate, and it is important that we look at the issue strategically. The Government and the Labour party probably have different approaches: the Labour party’s natural position on this kind of stuff is to regulate everything as much as possible, whereas we believe that free markets have had a tremendous effect on people’s lives right across the planet. Whether we look at education, tackling poverty or child mortality, many of the benefits in our society over the last 100 years have been delivered through the free market.

Our natural inclination is to support innovation but to be careful about its introduction and to look to mitigate any of its damaging effects, and that is what is set out in the national AI strategy. As we have seen, it has AI potential to become one of the most significant innovations in history—a technology like the steam engine, electricity or the internet. Indeed, my hon. Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Damian Collins) said exactly that: this is like a new industrial revolution, and I think it is a very exciting opportunity for the future. However, we also have key concerns, which have been highlighted by hon. Members today. Although the Government believe in the growth potential of these technologies, we also want to be clear that growth cannot come at the expense of the rights and protections of working people.

Only now, as the technology rapidly improves, are most of us beginning to understand the transformative potential of AI. However, the technology is already delivering fantastic social and economic benefits for real people. The UK’s tech sector is home to a third of Europe’s AI companies, and the UK AI sector is worth more than £15.6 billion. The UK is third in the world for AI investment, behind the US and China, and attracts twice as much venture capital investment as France and Germany combined. As impressive as they are, those statistics should be put into the context of the sector’s growth potential. Recent research predicts that the use of AI by UK businesses will more than double in the next 20 years, with more than 1.3 million UK businesses using AI by 2040.

The Government have been supporting the ethical adoption of AI technologies, with more than £2.5 billion of investment since 2015. We recently announced £100 million for the Foundation Models Taskforce to help build and adopt the next generation of safe AI, £110 million for our AI tech missions fund and £900 million to establish new supercomputer capabilities. These exascale computers were mentioned in the Budget by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor. These developments have incredible potential to bring forward new forms of clean energy, and indeed new materials that can deliver that clean energy, and to accelerate things such as medical treatment. There are exciting opportunities ahead.

If we want to become an AI superpower, it is crucial that we do all we can to create the right environment to harness the benefits of AI and remain at the forefront of technological developments. Our approach, laid out in the AI White Paper, is designed to be flexible. We are ensuring that we have a proportionate, pro-innovation regulatory regime for AI in the UK, which will build on the existing expertise of our world-leading sectoral regulators.

Our regulatory regime will function by articulating five key principles, which are absolutely key to this debate and tackle many of the points that have been made by hon. Members across the Chamber. Regulators should follow these five principles when regulating AI in their sectors: safety, security and robustness; transparency and explainability; fairness; accountability and governance; and contestability and redress. That feeds into the important points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Watford (Dean Russell), who held this ministerial position immediately prior to myself, about deception, scams and fraud. We can all see the potential for that, of course.

Clearly, right across the piece, we have regulators with responsibility in those five areas. Those regulators are there to regulate bona fide companies, which should do the right thing, although we have to make sure that they do. For instance, if somebody held a database with inappropriate data on it, the Information Commissioner’s Office could easily look at that, and it has significant financial penalties at its disposal, such as 4% of global turnover or a £17 million fine. My hon. Friend the Member for Watford made a plea for a Turing clause, which I am, of course, very happy to look at. I think he was referring to organisations that might not be bona fide, and might actually be looking to undertake nefarious activities in this area. I do not think we can regulate those people very effectively, because they are not going to comply with anybody’s regulations. The only way to deal with those people is to find them, catch them, prosecute them and lock them up.

The Minister talks about safety, but does he agree that that has to be safety by design, and not just having response mechanisms built into the system so that a victim can appeal? I know he has looked at fraud a lot in the past, and there is a presumption that all will be done to combat fraud at its known source, rather than just providing redress to victims.

That is absolutely right. We will not deal with everything in the world of AI in this respect, but there needs to be overarching responsibility for preventing fraud. That is something we have committed to bringing forward in another legislative vehicle—the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, which is passing through Parliament now—but I agree with my hon. Friend that there should be a responsibility on organisations to prevent fraud and not simply deal with the after-effects.

Our proposed framework is aligned with and supplemented by a variety of tools for trustworthy AI, such as assurance techniques, voluntary guidance and technical standards. The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation published its AI assurance road map in December 2021, and the AI Standards Hub—a world-leading collaboration led by the Alan Turing Institute with the National Physical Laboratory and the British Standards Institution—launched last October. The hub is intended to provide a co-ordinated contribution to standards development on issues such as transparency, security and uncertainty, with a view to helping organisations to demonstrate that AI is used safely and responsibly.

We are taking action to ensure that households, public services and businesses can trust this technology. Unless we build public trust, we will miss out on many of the benefits on offer. The reality is that AI, as with other general-purpose technologies, has the potential to be a net creator of jobs. I fully understand the points raised by the hon. Member for Birkenhead—of course, we do not want to see swathes of people put out of work because of this technology. I hasten to add that that has never been the case with other technologies. There have been many concerns over the ages about how new technologies will affect jobs, but they tend to create other jobs in different sectors. The World Economic Forum estimates that robotics, automation and artificial intelligence will displace 85 million jobs globally by 2025, but create 97 million new jobs in different sectors, which I will discuss in a second. I think the hon. Member for Birkenhead asked in his speech whether I would be willing to meet him to discuss these points; I am always very happy to do that, if we can convene at another time.

The hon. Member also raised the point about how AI in the workplace has the potential to liberate the workforce from monotonous tasks such as inputting data or scanning through documents for a single piece of information. I will address the bigger concerns he has around that, but in the public sector it would leave teachers with more time to teach, clinicians with more time to spend with patients and police officers with more time on the beat, rather than being behind a desk.

As was raised in a salient point by my hon. Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe, AI also has tremendous potential in defence and national security. That is absolutely critical. It was interesting that leading people in the world of technology, led by Elon Musk, recently wrote a letter asking for a six-month pause while we look at how we can properly moderate the impacts of AI. I am not sure that that is a good idea, because I am not sure China and Russia would play that game. It is important that we stay ahead of the curve, for exactly the reasons pointed out by my hon. Friend.

The Minister is exactly right. That initiative also suggests that AI is not yet here but, actually, the issues we have discussed today exist already. We can look at them already; we do not need a six-month pause to do that.

That is absolutely right. There is an opportunity but also a potential threat. It is important that we continue to invest, and it is great that the UK is ahead of the game in its investment, behind only the US and China, which are obviously much bigger economies.

The key thing is that we take action on skills, skilling up our workforce in the UK to take advantage of the potential of AI. Clearly, a good computing education is at the heart of that. We have overhauled the outdated information and communications technology curriculum and replaced it with computing, and invested £84 million in the National Centre for Computing Education to inspire the next generation of computer scientists. Our national skills fund offers to do just that, with free level 3 qualifications for adults and skills bootcamps in digital courses, including coding, AI and cyber-security, available across England.

On that point, as well as the opportunities in AI, we need to look at the new opportunities in the new economy. Some jobs will be displaced, so we need to ensure that we are skilling up our workforce for other opportunities in our new economy, be it data science or green jobs with the green jobs taskforce. Recently, in Hull, there were 3,000 new jobs in the wind turbine sector with a starting salary of £32,000, which illustrates the potential for green jobs in our economy. So although jobs might be displaced, others, hopefully better-paid jobs will replace them. We want a higher-wage, higher-skilled economy.

The Government are also supporting 16 centres for doctoral training, backed by an initial £100 million, delivering 1,000 PhDs. We expanded that programme with a further £117 million at the recent launch of the Government’s science and technology framework. Last year, we invested an additional £17 million in AI and data science postgraduate conversion courses and scholarships to increase the diversity of the tech workforce, on top of the £13 million that has been invested in the programme since 2019-20. We also invested £46 million to support the Turing AI fellowships to attract the best and brightest AI talent to work in the UK.

The point about protections for workers’ rights was raised by many Members in the debate, not least the hon. Members for Gordon (Richard Thomson) and for Birkenhead; the shadow Minister, the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston (Justin Madders); and my hon. Friends the Members for Folkestone and Hythe and for Watford. It is important to see the Government’s position on workers’ rights here. We are bolstering workers’ rights, raising the national living wage, with the highest increase on record—a near 10% increase—and six private Members’ Bills that increase workers’ rights, including on flexible working and other issues. There is also the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Bill, which is the favourite Bill of my hon. Friend the Member for Watford, who was its sponsor prior to becoming the Minister.

On the concerns many raised about workplace monitoring, we are committed to protecting workers. A number of laws are already in place that apply to the use of AI and data-driven technology in the workplace, including in decision making, which was raised by the hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston. The Equality Act 2010 already requires employers and service providers not to discriminate against employees, job applicants and customers. That includes discrimination through actions taken as a result of an algorithm or a similar artificial intelligence mechanism. Tackling discrimination in AI is a major strand of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s three-year strategy. Existing data protection legislation protects workers where personal data is involved, and that is one aspect of existing regulation on the development of AI systems and other technologies.

Reforms as part of the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill will cast article 22 of the UK GDPR as a right to specific safeguards, rather than as a general prohibition on solely automated decision making. These rights ensure that data subjects are informed about, and can seek human review of, significant decisions that are taken about them solely through automated means, which was a point raised by the shadow Minister. Employment law also offers protections. The Employment Rights Act 1996 provides that employees with two years of continuous service are protected from unfair dismissal, which would encompass circumstances where employees’ article 8 and UK GDPR rights have been breached in the algorithm decision-making process that led to the dismissal.

Of course, all good employers—by their very nature—should use human judgment. The best way we can help employers in any workplace is to have a strong jobs market where employers have to compete for employees. That is the kind of market we have delivered in this economy, despite some of the difficulties that surround it.

I once again thank the hon. Member for Birkenhead for tabling this timely and important debate. To be clear again, we have a strong ambition for the UK to become a science and technology superpower, and AI is a key part of that. However, the Government recognise the concerns around these technologies and appreciate that, as with all new technologies, trust has to be built. We will continue to build our understanding of how the employment rights framework operates in an era of increasing AI use. AI has the potential to make an incredibly positive contribution to creating a high-wage, high-skill and high-productivity economy. I very much look forward to seeing the further benefits as matters progress.

I thank Members for their contributions this afternoon, which were eloquent and well put. It is good that we are bringing this issue to the seat of power—the seat of Government—so that Ministers understand our fears. While we embrace AI, there must be built-in protections for people because not all employers are good employers. There are some bad employers about who will take advantage of AI. We need safeguards for workers and people being replaced by machines. At the end of the day, this issue is coming down our street, so we will need to revisit it again and understand it better.

Question put and agreed to.


That this House has considered the potential impact of artificial intelligence on the labour market.

Sitting suspended.